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Will Democrats forfeit the 2012 election like they did the 1980 election?

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In 1980 President Jimmy Carter was in trouble with voters because of economic conditions and the capture of the American embassy in Iran by students. Democrats decided to renominate him in spite of efforts by Sen. Ted Kennedy and Gov. Jerry Brown to replace him as the Democratic presidential candidate. Gov. Ronald Reagan buried Carter in a landslide. Republicans also gained control of the Senate and picked up 34 House seats.

Democratic incumbent President Lyndon Johnson was in trouble in 1968 because of his handling of the Vietnam War. Johnson wisely decided to drop out of the race after a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary by Sen. Eugene McCarthy and the entry of Sen. Robert Kennedy into the race. Although the assassination of Kennedy robbed Democrats of their best candidate, they nearly won anyway in a close popular vote. They retained control of the House and Senate.

Obama may be an even weaker candidate than Carter was. Unemployment in the Carter administration was only 7.5% compared to over 9% under Obama. Many voters are very upset about Obama's health care program. As in 1968 there are widespread student protests about a national policy.

Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush were all voted out of office with unemployment around 7.5%. President Ronald Reagan is the only post Depression president to win reelection with unemployment over 6%, but Reagan had gotten unemployment down to 7.4% from 10%. If Obama is the Democratic candidate, the Republican candidate will likely suggest voters ask themselves Reagan's question in 1980: "are you better off than you were four years ago."

Republicans have already taken control of the House under Obama and will likely take over the Senate if GOP candidates can run against Obama. Replacing Obama as the presidential candidate would free Democrats challenging Republican incumbents in the House of the need to support Obama's policies. Democrats could suggest that voters needed to change the House of Representatives as well as the White House.

Democrats who think the Republican candidates have too many problems need to review the 1992 election. Their candidate in 1992, Gov. Bill Clinton, won in spite of questions about how he avoided military service and possible involvement in the White Water savings and loan scandal that eventually led to his impeachment.

Changes in filing deadlines mean those wanting to challenge Obama cannot wait as long to decide as Bobby Kennedy did in 1968. A few Democrats must decide quickly whether to challenge Obama or risk sitting by and watching Republicans choose the next president.

Comments

Bob Forer 2 years, 4 months ago

Obama will have a fight but I see him winning, given the weak republican field.

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classclown 2 years, 4 months ago

" that was like an altogether different century...."

====================================

It wasn't like a different century. It actually was a different century.

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tange 2 years, 4 months ago

Of late, I've been walking through the (latest available) Fifth Season of SNL episodes, replete with Aykroyd impersonations of Jimmy Carter. 1980... that was like an altogether different century....

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Agnostick 2 years, 4 months ago

"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven to be important to our country's economic growth and environmental protection, improvements in our educational system."

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

“I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply side economics. I helped lead the effort to defeat communism in the Congress.”

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/newt-gingrich-the-obama-re-election-team-is-determined-to-distort-everything-they-can/

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jonas_opines 2 years, 4 months ago

Most of the people who take the time to actually put the words "reason" or "logic" or whatever in their profile name tend to be that way. It's usually a sign that they think they have the corner on the market, which is usually a sign that the only reason that they accept is a recitation of whatever they happen to already believe.

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autie 2 years, 4 months ago

Unreasonable mucus tends to have a skewed perspective of reality.

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Agnostick 2 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Agnostick 2 years, 4 months ago

The fun thing about Reasonmclucus's ("ReasonI'mClueless?") blog posts is that there's never much thought or attention put into them. Generally a parroting of whatever Breitbart or Freeperland is churning out at the moment.

Any candidate that is electable--potentially attractive to both the party base, as well as a selection of independent/unregistered/moderate voters--will probably not get the GOP nomination.

Conversely, whoever ends up getting the GOP nomination probably won't be electable, as I defined the term above.

I've never been shy about my admiration for Andrew Sullivan's blog, "The Dish." It's a good cafe plate of the best picks from the day's media buffet. Yesterday, I offered up an early warning sign of Ron Paul's slow, steady build in Iowa:

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/a-ron-paul-surprise-in-iowa.html

Today there's an interesting signpost in the road to the nomination.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/limbaugh-goes-to-bat-for-gingrich.html

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if El Rushbo tells everyone to vote for President Obama, if Mitt Romney gets the GOP nomination. It's a stupid, self-serving, tantrumption of a move that dovetails nicely with the Dominican Republic's most famous "tourist" urging Texas Republicans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries.

Seriously, the way this is all unfolding, the next 10 months should be a wild ride. You "conservatives" keep throwing your firecrackers and gasoline onto the flames--us sane people will just stand clear and enjoy the show. ;)

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com

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beatrice 2 years, 4 months ago

Gee, a full-fledged "Birther" doesn't believe Obama will win.

Um, what next? Going to tell us the world really is flat.

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XEPCT 2 years, 4 months ago

You should forward this to the white house, it might have just enough substance to convince Obama to throw in the towel. I don't see how else he'll lose to the serial adulterer (Newt) or the author of Romneycare...er...Obamacare.

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ridikkulus 2 years, 4 months ago

Newt... Yeah. Wow. My 13-year-old son had heard about his big platform, as Speaker of the House, about putting children of single mothers in orphanages. He said, "So if this guy gets elected, and he gets together with Brownback, they're going to say that you have to get married or they'll cart us off to an orphanage? Can we move to Canada?"

Thought it was funny. Eerily perceptive, but funny nonetheless.

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Fossick 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't see him losing, either. Yeah, he's a weak candidate, but the GOP hasn't had a strong one themselves since Reagan. Newt Gingrich? Seriously? That said, I do see the GOP taking the senate, and probably by a number that will surprise everyone. That won't make Obama's second term any easier than the last 2 years.

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labmonkey 2 years, 4 months ago

The thing you glaze over was that Republicans had a slam dunk presidential candidate in 1980 in Reagan, who pretty much thrust himself into the race with his 1976 speech at the GOP convention in KC. Right now, the GOP field is very weak... everyone has major weaknesses while none have a great strength. The only slam dunk guy the GOP had (Christie) decided not to run.

Obama will win... the combination of the GOP's weak field, his media support, his money, and I'm sure his race (always the elephant in the room, but a factor none the less) will help him win reelection.

I hope I am wrong, but I just don't see him losing.

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